The Texas Rangers might have looked at a series with the lowly Houston Astros as a way to get back on track, but they’ll likely have to perform well against a former pitcher to take the three-game set.
Scott Feldman had a strong showing against the Rangers a month ago but didn’t get a decision in a duel with Texas staff ace Yu Darvish. He could have a better chance at a victory in Wednesday night’s finale as he’s slated to pitch opposite minor league callup Nick Tepesch.
Texas (20-20) dropped 10 of 14 before winning 4-0 in Monday’s opener but was routed 8-0 the next night after another starting pitcher was hurt. Matt Harrison left in the second inning with stiffness in his surgically repaired back.
L.J. Hoes hit a two-run homer off Harrison before he exited and Carlos Corporan had a three-run shot off Justin Germano as the Astros (13-27) snapped a 10-game home losing streak to their AL West rivals.
Houston’s third win in 11 games was also just its fourth in the last 28 overall meetings with Texas.
Feldman (2-1, 1.93 ERA) will try to give his club its first series win since it took two of three in Seattle from April 21-23 and third this season.
Feldman, placed on the disabled list April 22 with right biceps tendinitis, allowed a pair of solo homers and struck out a season-high six in six innings in his return Friday in Baltimore. He did not get a decision in a 4-3 defeat.
"I definitely felt like I could throw all my pitches," Feldman said. "I was throwing more free and easy. It was a good feeling, in that regard. It would’ve been a nice one to win."
Feldman had one of his best outings of the season in Texas on April 11, yielding two hits over seven innings, but Darvish gave up one hit in eight innings in the Rangers’ 1-0 victory in 12.
Darvish was originally scheduled to pitch this game but is getting pushed back two days after coming within one out of a no-hitter Friday against Boston. The Rangers also announced that Martin Perez would miss his next start after feeling discomfort in his left elbow, paving the way for Tepesch’s season debut.
The right-hander went 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances last season for Texas. He also spent nearly two months on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching elbow.
Tepesch failed to make the team after struggling in spring training but went 6-1 with a 1.58 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Round Rock.
"It was just a matter of commanding all of my pitches, consistently commanding them in the zone," Tepesch told the team’s website. "That’s probably the biggest thing."
Tepesch recorded a 4.09 ERA and had 17 strikeouts over 11 innings to win his two starts against Houston last season.
Feldman, who spent his first eight seasons with the Rangers, is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA three starts against his former team.
Adrian Beltre is batting .403 with seven homers in his last 19 games against Houston but he’s 4 for 21 (.190) lifetime against Feldman.
Jose Altuve, 10 for 18 during a streak of four multihit games, is 3 for 6 versus Tepesch in his career.